Tag Archives: marine corps

“Root Step” and Command Pronunciation

When we give commands to a formation, the words and your voice need to have several different attributes (click here for complete information on the command voice).

One of the attributes that is never addressed is how to pronounce certain words. The two words that are constantly butchered by cadets and members of the military are Route and Oblique.

command_voice_fig_2_2The Root of the Issue
While anyone can get their, “kicks on Route 66,” that version of the word is usually pronounced “root.” When one is calling the command, Route Step, MARCH, this time it is pronounced “Rowt.” By the way, the “Harch” in the image is how Air Force members can call, “March”. All other services say, “March”. The image is from the AFMAN 36-2203 which began back in the late 1940s as AFR 50-14.

“I like Oblike”
The ObliqueA flank turns a formation to the right or left at 90-degrees, and an oblique pronounced “oh-bleek,” turns a formation to the right or left at a 45-degree angle. From the MCOP5060.20: “The word oblique is pronounced to rhyme with strike. ”

So, if you march in a Marine, Navy or Coast Guard unit, pronounce it the way the MCOP dictates. The rest of us can click here and listen to the pronunciation of oblique at m-w.com.

Now you know!

The Purpose of the Side Boy Cordon aboard Military Ships

Navy Side Boy CordonThe Navy’s Cordon Custom

In today’s military, we have many unique customs. The custom of using Side Boys to welcome a visiting dignitary or officer aboard a military vessel had a real purpose at one time. Side Boys are two, four, six, or eight Marines and/or Sailors lining both sides of the gangplank or on the quarterdeck in a ceremony now known as Tending the Side. The number of in the cordon is based on the rank of the officer visiting the vessel: two members for ensigns and LTs, up to eight members for admirals.

This system originally served a utilitarian purpose in the British Navy as early as the 17th century. Back then, men did not have the luxury of walking onto their ships: most had to transfer from a small boat to the larger ship by ladder, or by a device called a Boatswain’s Chair, which was essentially a seat attached to a yardarm by a block and tackle.

Here is where the  relevance of increasing numbers in the cordon comes in: the younger and less rank you had, most likely, the lighter you were. Thus, a light midshipman or LT needed only two men on the haul rope, while an often very stout Admiral, with a forty-year career, tended to need eight men to pull them up.

Additional jobs, such as steadying the officer after getting them to the deck, and helping with the officer’s luggage, also necessitated a required number of hands.

CJCS welcomes Chinese Gen. Fang FenghuiMilitary Cordon Sizes

  • President/Former President, 21 members
  • Vice-President, 19 members
  • Secretary of Defense, 19 members
  • Chairman of the JCS/Chief of Staff, 19 members
  • 4-Star General, 17 members
  • 3-Star General, 15 members
  • 2-Star General, 13 members
  • 1-Star General, 11 members
  • Everyone else, 11, 9, 7 or 5 members*

*Whatever number can be accomodated


The Marine Corps’ Silver Bands

Marine Corps Color Guard













If you see the Marine Corps Color Guard based at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., you will notice something a little different about the flagstaff of the Marine Battle Colors (the MC flag that has the Corps’ battle streamers hanging from it). Look at the picture at right.

The silver bands on the darker staff are historical. Each band is inscribed with the name of a battle (an Army tradition which was disconinued in 1961). Eventually, the flagstaff was changed (the services adopted the standardized light ash wood, two-piece staff) and the Marine corps went to streamers only.

From MCO 10520.3 (6 Nov 13)

Silver Bands
Silver bands were authorized for use for the Marine Corps on November 139. They were displayed on the staff of the battle color, organization color, or Marine Corps color to augment battle streamers and inscribed showing battle participation, campaign, expedition, etc Because of the problem created by the change in the flag staff, the fixed dimension of the silver bands, the large number of bands some organizations were authorized, and the fact that the bands were a duplication of battle streamers, the awarding of silver bands to units was discontinued on 27 March 1961 and requisitioning of bands is no longer authorized.

Marine Barracks 8th and I, as the caretaker of the Marine Corps Battle Standard, is the only Marine Corps organization entitled, and authorized to display silver bands.

Regarding the rifle guards’ opposite positions: the Navy Ceremonial Guard and Marine Corps Honor Guard are the only teams authorized to execute these positions for their services.

Do Standards even Matter?

Drill Team Uniform for XDThe picture at right was sent to me by a Facebook friend who is an Army JROTC instructor in Texas. He sent it with the note that, at this particular drill meet, the SOP stated that only authorized service uniforms were to be worn. He told me the reason for the strict uniform requirements:

One year I saw a color guard there wearing western wear. They had black denim trousers, western style shirts, cowboy boots and hats, and even wore red bandannas around their necks. It was getting ridiculous.

The Fancy or Basic Uniforms? article.

My response follows.

While I think the white Kevlar helmets are a strange choice, I don’t understand the Army’s (or any service’s) stiff-necked approach to uniforms. While I understand and fully support inspection, regulation and color guard in only authorized service uniforms, I don’t see why there is an issue regarding “exhibition uniforms” when it comes to exhibition drill. I in no way support any other kind of uniform when it comes to all regulation drill.

That being said, if instructors and cadet leaders cannot be bothered to read the SOP/OI, then the cadets should suffer the consequences which, unfortunately, ruins the purpose and experience of a drill meet.

What’s more, those who were running this competition did not even uphold the rules! This communicates to everyone involved that, no matter what standards are, it really doesn’t matter. I seriously doubt that this is what any JROTC command or unit wants to convey.

exhibition drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team, drill meet, drill competition, jrotc, air force, army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, standards, uniform

Lying, Stolen Valor and the Cost

Stolen Valor DirtbagThree percent of the American populace has served in the military. Just three percent. Men and women have died for America. Many of our Three Percent have either made the ultimate sacrifice or have returned from a conflict with some sort of disability

Disabled Veterans
I am a disabled vet. I retired from the USAF in 2005 after 20 years and have a disability rating from the Veteran’s Administration that is relatively high. I am embarrassed at that rating when I see other disabled veterans, who are blind, missing limbs or more. I would never dare to pretend to be more than I am by even wearing another ribbon or badge on my Air Force uniform that I did not earn.

I am amazed at how some people can play dress-up, receive accolades from the military-loving public and then either run and hide or try to justify their actions when they are caught. The young man in the picture, the “CPL-SGT-1LT”, above has everything wrong with his uniform. It is not necessary to point out everything line-by-line. Maybe the young lady has been duped by him or maybe she is complicit, that is not what matters, what matters is the damage that is done.

I could go off on a tangent of calling these people dirt bags and much more, but that has already been done by countless other veterans. These pretenders are stealing each minute that they keep up the charade. It is truly pathetic.

[embedplusvideo height=”362″ width=”591″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/RdqIEw” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/dXzB6FyOylU?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=dXzB6FyOylU&width=591&height=362&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep5311″ /]

stolen-valor-SF-phonyThe Cost
There is a cost associated with lying like this. I have a short story to tell you to help relate the meaning of what this cost is. I have a friend who has a serious condition that has rendered him disabled. It is a private matter for him and he does not discuss it with strangers or even acquaintences, only close friends of which I am one. He was once approached by another and asked what he does for a living. My friend replied that he is disabled and the other man asked if it was military related. My friend affirmed that it was even though he has never been in the military. His thinking was that the subject would be dropped and he would not have to explain any more than that. He was wrong. The lie went deeper and my friend was truly embarrassed and then confessed the lie to me. He said that he never meant to lie, just try to avoid a delicate topic which went completely in the wrong direction. In confessing to me he said he didn’t understand why he felt such a strong desire to tell me even though he was mortified in doing so. I told him why he needed to do it, besides that fact that he is a man of God and needed to confess, he also needed to know that each time someone lies about military service, even those who have served who then wear more rank or “cool” badges, each lie does personal damage to veterans. It cheapens our sacrifice. Military service is a sacrifice, though the level of sacrifice differs between service members of each branch.

What about the DrillMaster’s Uniform?
This is a logical question and I appreciate it. My work is unusual, there isn’t a precedent of what I do: training JROTC units and other cadet programs along with first responder (police, fire and EMS) honor guard units. These roles require a uniform and I created a service uniform and wear the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) and also a blue fatigue uniform. For more information on the uniforms I wear, click here.

stolen valor thief

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013

Below is a summary of the Act, the text is here.

Stolen Valor Act of 2013 – Amends the federal criminal code to rewrite provisions relating to fraudulent claims about military service to subject to a fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both an individual who, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds himself or herself out to be a recipient of:

  • a Congressional Medal of Honor,
  • a distinguished-service cross,
  • a Navy cross,
  • an Air Force cross,
  • a silver star,
  • a Purple Heart,
  • a Combat Infantryman’s Badge,
  • a Combat Action Badge,
  • a Combat Medical Badge,
  • a Combat Action Ribbon,
  • a Combat Action Medal, or
  • any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law.

A little bit of comedic relief:

[embedplusvideo height=”362″ width=”591″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/RdqtJF” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/bCnzi6L_BsM?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=bCnzi6L_BsM&width=591&height=362&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep6697″ /]

Lying, Stolen Valor, air force, military, army, navy, marine corps, marines, coast guard, usaf, usmc, usn, uscg

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

Many countries all over the world celebrate their armed forces with a special day. This is the history of Armed Forces Day in America. From www.defense.gov

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense. Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. The Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day, too.

Armed Forces DayIn a speech announcing the formation of the day, President Truman “praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas” and said, “it is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace.” In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, Mr. Truman stated:

“Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense”.

The theme of the first Armed Forces Day was “Teamed for Defense.” It was chosen as a means of expressing the unification of all the military forces under a single department of the government. Although this was the theme for the day, there were several other purposes for holding Armed Forces Day. It was a type of “educational program for civilians,” one in which there would be an increased awareness of the Armed Forces. It was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job is performed and the role of the military in civilian life. It was a day for the military to show “state-of- the-art” equipment to the civilian population they were protecting. And it was a day to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces of the United States.

According to a New York Times article published on May 17, 1952: “This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces … to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won’t be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.”

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions, and air shows. In Washington D.C., 10,000 troops of all branches of the military, cadets, and veterans marched pass the President and his party. In Berlin, 1,000 U.S. troops paraded for the German citizens at Templehof Airfield. In New York City, an estimated 33,000 participants initiated Armed Forces Day “under an air cover of 250 military planes of all types.” In the harbors across the country were the famed mothballed “battlewagons” of World War II, the Missouri, the New Jersey, the North Carolina, and the Iowa, all open for public inspection. Precision flying teams dominated the skies as tracking radar were exhibited on the ground. All across the country, the American people joined together to honor the Armed Forces.

As the people gathered to honor the Armed Forces on this occasion, so too did the country’s leaders. Some of the more notable of these leaders’ quotes are stated below:

“Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”

Former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson

“The heritage of freedom must be guarded as carefully in peace as it was in war. Faith, not suspicion, must be the key to our relationships. Sacrifice, not selfishness, must be the eternal price of liberty. Vigilance, not appeasement, is the byword of living freedoms. Our Armed Forces in 1950– protecting the peace, building for security with freedom–are “Teamed for Defense …”

General Omar N. Bradley
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Real security lies in the prevention of war–and today that hope can come only through adequate preparedness.”

General Omar N. Bradley, 1951
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Armed Forces Day this year should serve to emphasize the practical application of unification in action, and to remind us of the continued need for unity in our Armed Forces and among all of our citizens in the interests of security and peace.”

Robert D. Lovett, Former Secretary of Defense

“It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

“Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man. For it is he–the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine– who has fought to preserve freedom. It is his valor that has given renewed hope to the free world that by working together in discipline and faith our ideals of freedom will always prevail.”

Admiral Forrest P. Sherman

“Our Armed Forces and our national defense system represent a judicious investment of the nation’s resources in the cause of peace. The return on this investment, in terms of national strength, shows the determination of the American people to preserve our way of life and to give hope to all who seek peace with freedom and justice. “

The Honorable Neil McElroy, 1959
Former Secretary of Defense

“Close understanding between members of our Armed Forces and members of civilian communities is most important to preserve the high level of national readiness necessary for safeguarding the free world.”

General Nathan F. Twining, 1959
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“We cannot, in this day of exploding world competition on all fronts, be content to maintain the status quo. We must also realize that the preservation of our freedom in the years ahead may require greater sacrifices from us than those made by Americans who have walked before us.”

General Nathan F. Twining, 1960
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Today we are strong enough to meet today’s challenge. But the very fact that we are strong may put off the challenge to another day. The Soviets think that time is on their side. We believe otherwise. But meanwhile we cannot afford to lower our guard.”

The Honorable Robert S. McNamara, 1961
Former Secretary of Defense

“Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.”

President John F. Kennedy, 1962

“Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”

“The support of an informed American people is increasingly important to the Armed Forces in these days of rapid technological advance, quick reaction time, and grave threat to our freedom. I, therefore, encourage members of the DoD to observe Armed Forces Day by informing the American people of our ‘Power for Peace’ and by confirming their faith that in our strength we will remain free.”

The Honorable Robert S. McNamara, 1962
Former Secretary of Defense

“Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace–many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth–that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”

President John F. Kennedy, 1963

“Their contribution to our freedom and safety is measureless. Our national security depends on the maintenance of alert military forces as a deterrent to any possible aggressor.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

“Armed Forces Day, above all, honors the dedicated individuals who wear the uniforms of their country. Each serviceman, wherever he may be, whatever his task, contributes directly and importantly to the defense of the nation. The task of each one is the task of all the Armed Forces: to protect the freedoms which underlie the greatness of America.”

General Earle G. Wheeler, 1967
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Our servicemen and women shoulder the burden of defense as one of the responsibilities of citizenship in this free country. Having participated in protecting our rights and having met oppression on the battlegrounds of the world, they are able to appreciate and savor the blessings of citizenship in the country they serve.”

The Honorable Melvin Laird, 1970
Former Secretary of Defense

“At home and abroad, military men and women are showing purpose and dedication in defending American ideas. They are performing in our country’s best traditions under circumstances both difficult and complex. Thanks to their determined spirit of patriotism and professionalism, our country has a powerful and unified defense team, employing its forces in the constant quest for peace and freedom.”

The Honorable Melvin Laird, 1972
Former Secretary of Defense

Armed Forces Day, army, air force, marines, marine corps, navy, coast goard

The 2014 Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy


Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard
CJSHGA members receiving their Honor Guard Tab at graduation

The 2014 Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy

Click here for current details!

If you are between the ages of 12 and 17 (high school seniors are welcome), in any kind of cadet program and have a desire to learn the tasks of America’s military honor guards, Millersburg, KY is the place to be from July 27th to August 9th. Why? Because these 2 weeks are the Cadet Joint Service Honor Guard Academy! The academy is taught by The DrillMaster and hosted by Forest Hill Military Academy which turns into the National Cadet Training Center during the summer where cadets from all over the world meet to attend many varied Military Adventure Camp courses:

COURSES (First Time Attendees):

Basic Cadet Training – Session 1                                                       June 29 – July 12

Basic Cadet Training and Tactical Leader Course                            June 29 – July 26

Basic Cadet, Tactical Leader, and Cad. Mil. Combatives Prog.        June 29 – August 2

Basic Cadet, Tactical Leader, and Cadet MP Academy                    June 29 – August 9

Basic Cadet Training – Session 2                                                       July 13 – 26

Basic Cadet and CMCP Week                                                           July 13 – August 2

Basic Cadet and Cadet MP Academy                                               July 13 – August 9

COURSES (Returning Attendees):

Cadet Tactical Leader’s Course                                                         July 13 – 26

Cadet Tactical Leader’s Course and CMCP                                       July 13 – August 2

Cadet Tactical Leader’s Course and Cadet MP Academy                 July 13 – August 9

Cadet Advanced Leader’s Course                                                      June 6 – 26

Cadet Ranger Challenge (CRS prerequisite)(15 y/o+)                      June 22 – July 12

Cadet Ranger School                                                                          July 13 – August 2

Cadet Combat Engineer School                                                        June 22 – July 12

Cadet Combat Support Schools                                                        June 22 – July 12

Cadet Ranger Challenge and Cadet Ranger School                         June 22 – August 2

Cadet Military Police (MP) Academy                                                 July 27 – August 9

Cadet Joint Honor Guard Academy                                                  July 27 – August 9

Cadet Military Combatives Program (CMCP)                                  July 27 – August 2

I hope to see you around the campus!

honor guard training, cadet honor guard, air force, army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, sea cadets, young marines, civil air patrol, cap, honor guard, color guard, funeral detail,  pall bearers, pallbearers, firing party, color team, posting the colors, presenting the colors